Institute of Architects welcomes Central City Built Form Review

The Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter welcomes the recently announced Government review of central city planning controls and the associated strengthening of the City of Melbourne’s role in planning decisions.

Peter Malatt, Victorian Chapter President, sees the review as a key component of ensuring certainty and consistency of built form outcomes in the central city and the first step in delivering a Melbourne that is both able to support expected population growth of approximately 100,000 people a year, while maintaining its reputation as the most liveable city in world.

The Institute agrees with the introduction of interim controls as a mechanism to ensure that development outcomes and public realm amenity impacts are effectively managed while the review is underway.

‘The interim controls, while somewhat blunt in their coverage, are in fact quite generous compared to similar controls in other cities’ says Mr Malatt. ‘New York and Hong Kong have plot ratios of 10:1 and Sydney has 11:1. The interim plot ratio for Melbourne of 24:1 provides a midway point between the standard set by other international cities, and average plot ratios of recent years in Melbourne.

‘We welcome the interim amendment’s formalising of a closer working relationship between the State Government and the City of Melbourne. While we understand the reason behind the timing of the release and minimal industry consultation around the introduction of the controls, we are encouraged by the Government’s commitment to engaging more closely with all stakeholders as we develop this further.

‘As a profession we look forward to working alongside the Government, community and industry to ensure that Melbourne’s built form controls are world class and on track to delivering improved public amenity and ensuring growth enhances Melbourne’s long-term liveability,’ Mr Malatt said.

The Melbourne C262 Amendment introduces interim (12 months) built form controls to the Hoddle Grid and part of Southbank. The controls include mandatory building heights, tower setbacks to streets and adjoining sites, and a discretionary site plot ratio. Other matters addressed include shadowing controls, wind impact criteria, and the conferral of recommending referral authority status to the City of Melbourne.